THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
November 18, 2005
The Guardian

More Than 80,000 Held by US Since 9/11 Attacks

by Suzanne Goldenberg

The US has detained more than 80,000 people in facilities from Afghanistan to Cuba since the attacks on the World Trade Centre four years ago, the Pentagon said yesterday. The disclosure comes at a time of growing unease about Washington's treatment of prisoners in its "war on terror" and Europe's unknowing help in the CIA's practice of rendition.

The Bush administration has defended the detentions from criticism by human rights organisations, saying the interrogation of suspected militants has been crucial in its attempt to dismantle terror networks. At least 14,500 people are in US custody in connection with the war on terror, Pentagon officials in Washington and Baghdad said yesterday. Some 13,814 people are being held in Iraq and there are approximately 500 at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

But it was an even less visible aspect of America's detention policy that was causing a furore in European capitals yesterday: the CIA practice of rendering terror suspects for interrogation to secret prisons in third countries. Washington faced mounting pressure yesterday to respond to reports of secret landings by private jets used by the CIA to transport terror suspects in at least six countries. . . .

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Joe W. (Chip) Pitts III, "Tough Patriot Act Followed by 40 Nations," Washington Post, September 14, 2003

"CIA renditions of terror suspects are 'out of control'," AFP, February 06, 2005

VIDEO: Bronwyn Adcock, "The Italian Job," Dateline (Australia), November 9, 2005

Dana Priest, "Foreign Network at Front of CIA's Terror Fight: Joint Facilities in Two Dozen Countries Account for Bulk of Agency's Post-9/11 Successes," Washington Post, November 18, 2005

Editorial: "Um, About That Dirty Bomb?," New York Times, November 23, 2005

Tracy Wilkinson, "Europe in Uproar Over CIA Operations," latimes.com, November 26, 2005

[Coats informed the German minister that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned one of its citizens, Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, the sources said. There was also a request: that the German government not disclose what it had been told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of a covert action program designed to capture terrorism suspects abroad and transfer them among countries, and possible legal challenges to the CIA from Masri and others with similar allegations. --Dana Priest, "Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake," Washington Post, December 4, 2005]

[The case marks the first time that a foreign government has filed criminal charges against U.S. operatives for their role in a counterterrorism mission.--Craig Whitlock, "CIA Ruse Is Said to Have Damaged Probe in Milan: Italy Allegedly Misled on Cleric's Abduction," Washington Post, December 6, 2005]

[. . . under this administration's eccentric definition of "U.S. obligations," cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is not prohibited as long as it does not occur on U.S. territory.--Editorial: "A Weak Defense," Washington Post, December 6, 2005]

[The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.--Douglas Jehl, "Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim," New York Times, December 9, 2005]

[Accounts from detainees at Guant‡namo reveal that the United States as recently as last year operated a secret prison in Afghanistan where detainees were subjected to torture and other mistreatment . . . U.S. and Afghan guards were not in uniform and that U.S. interrogators did not wear military attire, which suggests that the prison may have been operated by personnel from the Central Intelligence Agency.--"U.S. Operated Secret 'Dark Prison' in Kabul," Human Rights Watch, December 19, 2005]

"UN calls for Guantanamo closure," BBC News, February 16, 2006

[Made public in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the Associated Press, the list comprises all the detainees processed at hearings under the so-called combatant status review tribunal at the Guantanamo between in July 2004 and January 2005.--David Usborne, "Pentagon releases names of 558 prisoners held at Guantanamo," Independent, April 21, 2006]

[Extraordinary renditions would breach European human rights legislation and British domestic law.--Richard Norton-Taylor, "1,000 secret CIA flights revealed," Guardian, April 27, 2006]

VIDEO: "U.S. Court Rules Wrongfully-Held Detainee Khaled El-Masri Can't Sue CIA For Kidnapping Him," democracynow.org, May 25, 2006

Craig S. Smith, "European nations aided CIA renditions, report says," International Herald Tribune, June 6, 2006

[The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President George W. Bush lacks authority to try Guantanamo Bay inmates before military tribunals, a blow to the administration's anti-terrorism strategy that scales back executive wartime powers.--"U.S. Supreme Court Bars Bush's Military Tribunals," bloomberg.com, June 29, 2006]

Ian Austin, "Canadians Fault U.S. for Its Role in Torture Case," New York Times, September 18, 2006

Maher Arar, "A Personal Account: The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition," counterpunch.org, October 27, 2006

Georg Mascolo, "THE MASRI CASE: White House Fears ACLU Campaign," Spiegel Online, November 30, 2006

Suzanne Goldenberg, "Victim of US torture flights wins £4.5m in damages," Guardian, January 27, 2007

[Matthew Cole, Avni Patel, and Brian Ross, "Convicted CIA Spy Says 'We Broke the Law'," ABC News, November 4, 2009]

[In a stiff rebuke from across the Atlantic to the policies of former US president George Bush, a judge in Milan yesterday sentenced 23 American citizens to up to eight years in prison for their part in the secret abduction of a Muslim cleric in 2003 and his rendition for questioning in Egypt, where he was imprisoned and tortured.

All but one of the 23 US citizens were identified by prosecutors in the three-year trial as members or former members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).--David Usborne, "CIA agents sentenced in Italy rendition case: First legal blow to Bush policy of seizing suspects," Independent, November 5, 2009]

[EDITORIAL: Extraordinary rendition - the abduction of foreigners, often innocent ones, by American agents who sent them to countries well known for torturing prisoners - was central to President George W. Bush's antiterrorism policy. His administration then used wildly broad claims of state secrets to thwart any accountability for this immoral practice.

President Obama has adopted the same legal tactic of using the secrecy privilege to kill lawsuits. So the only hope was that the courts would not permit these widely known abuses of power to go unchecked.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court abdicated that duty. It declined to review a case brought by five individuals who say - credibly - that they were kidnapped and tortured in overseas prisons. The question was whether people injured by illegal interrogation and detention should be allowed their day in court or summarily tossed out.--"Malign Neglect," nytimes.com, May 21, 2011]

[The scale of the CIA's rendition programme has been laid bare in court documents that illustrate in minute detail how the US contracted out the secret transportation of suspects to a network of private American companies.--Ian Cobain and Ben Quinn, "How US firms profited from torture flights," Guardian, August 31, 2011]

[The CIA worked closely with Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence services in the rendition of terrorist suspects including Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, the rebel commander in Tripoli, according to documents found in Tripoli.--David Batty, "CIA worked with Libya in terror suspect renditions, documents show," Guardian, August 31, 2011]

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